Festival to promote democracy kicks off at Lok Virsa

ISLAMABAD: A unique festival, titled ‘National Culture for Democracy’, is being held at Lok Virsa Complex under the aegis of Development Communications Network (DEVCOM Pakistan) and Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage).

Other partners include Islamabad Crescent Lions Club (ICLC), the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and National Highway Authority.

The festival aims to give message to people from all walks of life, especially youth and women, to take part in the process of strengthening democracy.

Another objective is to sensitise and educate people about the importance of continuity of democracy – the voice of people, to reform and strengthen the Pakistani society on more democratic norms and values leading to tolerance for diversity of faiths and opinions resulting in peace and harmony.

Senator Jahangir Badr opened the festival during a graceful ceremony at the Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, also known as Heritage Museum.

Badr, who is also secretary general of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, said, “Democracy is the best system of government in the world. It provides equality to people in development, social and economic justice and gives them true representation through their elected representatives. In Pakistan, the roots of democracy are in the transitional phase.”

“The Pakistan People’s Party and its leadership, including Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, rendered great sacrifices for the restoration and strengthening of democracy as well as for the rights of common people. The present leadership of the PPP is also struggling for the same cause,” Badr added.

As part of Iqbal Day celebrations, Badr also paid rich tributes to great philosopher and national poet Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal for his services to the nation.

He appreciated the role and contribution of Lok Virsa in documentation, preservation and projection of Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, saying, “This institution was created by PPP founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.”

The International Democracy Day is marked every year to educate people about their participation to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

“The present government is the longest serving democratic government that needs to be mainstreamed and highlighted. On the other hand, traditionally our folk/Sufi culture and literature also support the voices of people that we need to mark accordingly,” Badr said.

“The National Culture for Democracy festival is a blend of both to get the message across to sensitise and educate general masses about the continuity of democracy – the voice of people,” he added.Attractions of the festival include stalls by the government and corporate and non-governmental sectors showcasing their services, success stories, significant achievements and their way forward for a strong and prosperous democratic Pakistan.

There is also special representation of youth, women and crafts persons from different parts of Pakistan. A food-court, family-entertainment area for the visiting families and general public and all-day cultural performances and fun-shows for children have also been included in the festival.

A painting exhibition on the theme ‘Culture and Democracy’ is also an important part of the festival.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C11%5C10%5Cstory_10-11-2012_pg11_7